Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO'S War on Libya and Africa by Maximilian Forte
Finalist for The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction in 2013
NATO’s war in Libya was proclaimed as a humanitarian intervention—bombing in the name of “saving lives.” Attempts at diplomacy were stifled. Peace talks were subverted. Libya was barred from representing itself at the UN, where shadowy NGOs and “human rights” groups held full sway in propagating exaggerations, outright falsehoods, and racial fear mongering that served to sanction atrocities and ethnic cleansing in the name of democracy. The rush to war was far speedier than Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Max Forte has scrutinized the documentary history from before, during, and after the war. He argues that it was not about human rights, nor entirely about oil, but about a larger process of militarizing U.S. relations with Africa. The development of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM is seen to be in competition with Pan-Africanist initiatives such as those spearheaded by Muammar Gaddafi. Far from the success NATO boasts about or the “high watermark” proclaimed by proponents of the “Responsibility to Protect,” this war has left the once prosperous, independent and defiant Libya in ruin, dependency and prolonged civil strife.
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